Monday, October 25, 2010


I wonder how many people will now be remembering that, a few years back, one had to obtain a licence from the Indian Post and Telegraphs Department to own an ordinary domestic radio set in India !! The young generation of today , I am afraid, would not have even seen a licence taken in those days for a radio. The fact is that till the year 1985 one had to pay Rs. 15/- (the amount was less in the earlier years) in the Post Office and obtain a licence at the time of purchase of a radio and had to renew it every year by paying Rs.15/- under Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.

I had in one of my earlier posts mentioned about a HMV Tuner SONIC IV purchased by me in the year 1978. While searching for some old documents I was delighted to see the licence of the set among the old papers. The blue book is in tact showing the picture of a transmission tower on the front and an advertisement of "EVEREADY' Battery on the back cover. This indicates that by then AIR and P&T Dept. had gone commercial. . The first two pages show the details of the owner( this humble self) and the details of places the owner had taken it. The inside pages show that the licence was renewed only upto 31st December 1984 probably because, by then, the Govt. had abolished this licence with the aim of popularising the Radio in rural areas and also, may be, due to the impracticality of ensuring that every radio has a licence renewed up to date.

The inside pages also show the stringent conditions for owning a radio. It stipulates that the set should be used only at the address given and not even in a building or residence partly used for business purposes! Change in address had to be informed to the Post Office in which the set stood registered. Any alteration to the location of the set should be informed to the licencing authority! The set should not be used by anybody other than the licensee or the members of his household residing at the location! In the event of sale of the set, the matter should be informed to the Post Office and the licence transferred to the buyer! The confusion such a licence regime could now create with millions of sets in operation can well be imagined.

The pages also reveal an interesting piece of information. Till 1980 the licence fee was Rs.3/- There was a 500% increase in 1981 when the fee was increased to Rs.15/-

P.S. Please click on the photos for details.


raju said...

I remember. You know why the licencing was discontinued? Very few persons abided by the stupid policy.And I don't think there was any action for possession of an unlicenced radio.I agree that the licence is indeed a collectors item

काजल कुमार Kajal Kumar said...

Yes we have come a long way...

Vishal Gawali said...

dear sir.
i found radio licence in old papers.
but i don't know much more about that. so give me all details by mail about the history of radio licence.waiting for your mail. thanks.
my mail

Anonymous said...

Hey i dont remember about that because i was very young at that time.. but i have the license, kept it safe.. :)